tv Land Use Water Rights on the Colorado Plateau CSPAN December 22, 2018 11:45am-12:01pm EST
interviews with apollo eight astronauts, author discussions, and archival films from the reel america series at 10:30 a.m. eastern monday and earrings around the day and evening. it's american history tv marking the 50th anniversary of the 1968 mission to orbit the moon. >> history professor erika bsumek talked about land use and water access on the colorado plateau, highlighting the differences between navajos and mormon settlers in the 19th century. she also described how 20th century dam projects affected the area. american history tv recorded the interview at the western history association annual meeting in san antonio, texas. >> joining us from san antonio, texas got a professor of history at the university of texas at austin and your paper, your presentation is titled as follows, droughts, dams, and the attempt to stave off the coloradoon the
plateau. between your research, what have you learned? prof. bsumek: my research on the utah the dam eurozone of order completed in the 1960's. i became interested in how society was attempting to mitigate extreme water shortages in the american southwest. >> how did they do that? prof. bsumek: there were a number of different ways americans who settled in the region actually attempted to deal with a water shortage. damsfirst tried barrier and canals and then they began to stay up -- to scale up their attempts. they tried smaller mitigation projects and by the time we get to the 1940's and 1950's, people become acutely aware that order
for society to grow, they need to really begin to stockpile water. after the construction of hoover dam is followed by the second largest dam in the united states. they turned infrastructure to do that. >> when was the glen canyon dam built and by whom and what price tag, and what did it provide? water and one of the resources for the area -- what other resources for their area? prof. bsumek: it was proposed in the 1950's and it is approved as part of a multi-dam package built between 1956 and 1966. dedicated in 1966 by lady bird johnson. and the price tag is -- i'm a little unsure of the exact number but it provided millions of gallons of water to residents
throughout the southwest, primarily in places like phoenix. one of the things that was promoted was that it would provide hydroelectric power to growing areas. to theor irrigation residence of the southwest, utah, arizona and hydroelectric power for those regions. where the most interesting things from my research perspective my earlier work was on native american history. it was actually built on navajo land and yet the navajo don't actually get the water and electricity they are promised. until very recently. >> it leads to the obvious follow-up, you have your undergraduate at the university in utah, this is the intersection between the mormons and the native americans. can you explain? prof. bsumek: sure. the mormon church actually alieves it americans to be
kind of fundamental population, they call them lamanites. without going into too many details, one of the core missions that the church had from its earliest time was to convert indigenous populations. so they sent out missions to the american southwest to the utah arizona border to convert the units, paiute, navajo and hopi to bring them in to the fold. way, they were kind of collecting or taking native american resources. resources from in terms of water and land for agriculture and so on. so the mormon church kind of has this full mission, with the all the estrich of this twofold mission which is to settle the region, to grow what they call the mormon corridor, their population in the region, to bringate and adopt and/or
it americans into that church, but also to dispossess the motherland, they would necessarily put it in those terms certainly in the 1840's. there's a little more sensitivity about that today. >> it sounds like they had very different views of the land and its purposes. prof. bsumek: absolutely. there is actually some similarity and overlap for both the native americans and mormons for the book consider the region to me there zion. utah is known as the mormon zion and for native americans, it is their spiritual homeland as well, the place where they feel they along in their religion is rooted in that region. spiritualitygy and is rooted in the mountains. the land on the water supply. interestingly enough, we have to do our populations who view the land is sacred but for very different region -- from very different reasons. landview the use of the
that puts them at cross purposes. to use the mormons going the land versus how do americans are going to use the land and what happens when the white population in the region grows? by the time we get to the 1950's, the mormon church actually desires to build the land, they rally their population, which is grown in large numbers, they sort of pressure the navajo nation to give up their land through one of the key senators in the dam debate, a mormon senator from utah who leaves the colorado river storage act and get it put through. and the navajo nation leadership action goes along with it because they want the water and electricity that they are promised under this law, but they don't actually get those things. at least not immediately. >> either then or now, did the navajo community feel mistreated or views? -- or abused? prof. bsumek: yes.
the entire navajo population is incredibly large, the second-largest native american population in the united states. there was no collective agreements among the entire tribe, there was just tribal leadership which actually saw the dam is a way to bring prosperity, economic prosperity and jobs to the region. they didn't actually believe they would be giving up as much as they ultimately gave up in order to get the dam built. subsection of the navajo population who felt very mistreated shortly after the dam was built and they found out that one of their core sacred sites, americans know as rainbow thege, navajo know it as bridge that crosses over. it was a sacred point in navajo cosmology, is linked to their key religious -- one of their
core religious beliefs. and when they find out that the dam is going to backup waters through the reservoir and inundate rainbow bridge, they are very upset and they actually with the environmental groups to stop the case dam from filling to capacity to preserve rainbow bridge. >> along the arizona utah border, has much change over the last 50 to 60 years as you walk through a drive through the area it similar how it was in the 50's and 60's? is radically it different. an entire town is been built up in that region and the navajo nation gives the federal government land to build the dam which becomes part of arizona, which has grown significant way. if we were to go to hundred miles to the west of where the dam is today, there is st. george, utah, which existed in the 1960's as a relatively small
town, but today is the fastest-growing musicality in the united states. and their population is excited by withino 500,000 the next 20 to 30 years. so it's a very small population in the arid west which is growing very rapidly, communities like page, right next to the dam, st. george little west of the dam as well as the navajo nation, all of those populations in the region are growing and all of them are putting pressure on the water supply. the dam is currently at 41% of overall capacity. a 700 year drought cycle, a mega-drought that lasted more than 20 years in the region. and all of these populations, native americans, mormons, and within the region they are all fighting over that water supply now. professor atry
university of texas austin, how and why did you get interested in this area? prof. bsumek: i grew up in salt lake city, my family had settled the region, they were italian and greek immigrants who came to the american southwest around the turn-of-the-century and they settled in a region called where theh, which is dam is built and they became sheepherders. i grew up with stories about the water and water shortages and mormons and indians and non-mormons in the region sort of all try to figure out how to sustain their communities. and then by the time i was an undergraduate in college, there was big efforts, the dam incredibly controversial among environmentalists for a lot of reasons which i will really go into, but there was this kind of movement to quote unquote during drain the dam, to return the river to its original flow.
as an environmental issue, it was interesting to me and as i moved forward, i'd written about the navajo nation. when i started to research the dam, i started to learn the complicated history and where my family fit in and ultimately i learned that my grandfather, who had immigrated from germany to the united states as a kind of postwar refugee in the 1950's, is very first job was building that dam. my own family history is kind of intersected with a history of glen canyon dam in a number of ways and that's how i got interested in it. prof. bsumek: which finally is no part of it -- >> which finally is now art of the book project. prof. bsumek: it's called fight foron, the resources on the colorado plateau and it tells the story of all the different groups who inhabited the plateau at different times and how they thought about the land is sacred and how they determined how they were going to use the resources on the colorado plateau.
she joins us from san antonio, thank you for your time. prof. bsumek: thank you. >> this weekend on american history tv, tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on "lectures and history," catholic university professor and former cia historian nicholas domenech on national intelligence operations during president can't use the administration. -- kennedy's demonstration. >> to the biggest intelligence subjects, often the two major historical episodes that people --theer from this period bay of pigs fiasco and the cuban missile crisis. we have a fiasco and the crisis and they are both big problems. what they have in common is obviously, cuba. >> sunday at 6:00 p.m. on american artifacts, they look
inside the national portrait gallery on its 50th anniversary. >> the charter that was handed to us by congress was to collect the men and women who made a national impact on america's history and culture. i use that word impact advisedly, because of course, we have people like john wilkes booth, who assassinated president lincoln and the notorious gangster al capone. there is no moral test to be in the portrait gallery. we are not a hall of heroes. what we are is the place to reflect on those people who have changed the national conversation and got us to where we are today. >> watch american history tv this weekend on c-span3. >> this sunday on "the presidency," monticello senior historian j wilson looks at cruise -- clues in thomas jefferson's dress and mannerisms
that revealed how he wanted to present himself in the new republic. here is a preview. >> one senator as soon as jefferson returns to new york, he makes the observation that he had been long enough abroad to catch the tone of european folly and he also makes the comment that his clothes looked too small for him, it makes me think the jefferson is wearing still the very trim cut french codes. he just arrived in new york and has not had time to get any made. but how much of the frenchman did he maintain? i also found a quote from a visitor to monticello very late in jefferson's life when he is in retirement there. and this gentleman who it gone to see the stage, he remarked that his gestures and of his gestures and body language, he says they are artificial. he shrugs his shoulders when talking, has very much of the frenchman about him.
surprising there were little mannerisms the jefferson incorporated and had for the rest of his life. but definitely people can see that yes, he was a francophile. gayou can hear more from here in american history tv. next on the presidency, iowa state university hosted a panel discussion on watergate's lessons and its implications for future presidents. panelists include former congressman edward mezvinsky. he's donated his papers to the university. this is just over an hour. julian: good evening. my name is julian neeley, i'm servinas